Enrollment at the University of California, Merced, this fall has climbed to another all-time high of 6,685 students — an increase of 6.7 percent over Fall 2014, according to headcount figures compiled during the third week of instruction.
According to statistics from Institutional Research and Decision Support, the total includes 1,790 first-year students, a 15.4 percent increase over 2014 figures. Transfer student enrollment decreased slightly, with 95 new students.
The university’s graduate student admissions continue to rise, with 448 graduate students enrolled this fall — a 16.7 percent increase over last year. The 610 graduate applications received are 20 percent higher than last year.
The campus also received a record number of undergraduate applications for admission (21,472), up 15 percent compared with the prior year — the highest rate of growth in the UC system. But admissions for this academic year were limited for the third year by space constraints. UC Merced has proposed a fast-track expansion plan to double the campus’s physical capacity by 2020, with a goal of accommodating 10,000 students.
“Our record applications and enrollment demonstrate the need to expand facilities significantly to accommodate the demand for our innovative campus,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “The 2020 Project proposal will address this issue as quickly and cost-effectively as possible to help us reach our goals.”
The campus continues to lead the system in the percentage of students from underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students and children of low-income families who qualify for financial aid. Recently, UC Merced was identified by BestColleges.com, an online resource for prospective college students, as one of the country’s most diverse campuses — ranking No. 12 out of 1,700 institutions.
UC Merced continues to experience increasing demand from throughout the state, with 99.6 percent of undergraduate students hailing from across California.
The quality of students arriving at UC Merced continues to grow, as well. This year’s first-year cohort boasts the highest high school grade-point average of any incoming class in the campus’s history, at 3.56. The campus also awarded 36 UC Regents Scholarships to first-time, new transfer and continuing students based primarily on their high academic and personal achievements.
“UC Merced continues to grow as a top-notch research university and as such is naturally becoming more selective every year,” Leland said. “However, we remain committed to offering access to more and more qualified California students.”